About a year ago, while I was interning at Seventeen Magazine in NYC, I was sitting at my desk (mind you, roughly 1,000 miles away from home) when in walked none other than Bradford Billingsley, another Birmingham native who has taken the fashion world by storm. As graciously as I could, I completely interrupted the interview he had been invited all that way for so I could meet him and his sweet mother. One year later, we both found ourselves at BFW, Bradford being featured as the Up and Coming Designer…oh, and by the way, he’s 15 years old and the absolute coolest.
Bradford has been drawing designs since he was 5 years old and began sewing them at age 10. His first fully developed dress was designed specifically for another Birmingham phenomenon, Baskin Champion, a now world-renowned model who made an appearance at this year’s BFW. The Rising Design Star competition (showcasing designers in middle school and high school) at BFW holds a special place in Bradford’s heart, as he competed with his designs for several years preceding his appearance on Project Runway Threads, where he walked away the winner of his season. Since then, he has been jet-setting from LA to New York (and thankfully, back to Birmingham!) to showcase his cutting-edge designs.
I was able to sit down with Bradford backstage before he revealed his latest collection to ask him a few questions about himself, his exploding career, and his collection (Hint: it’s unreal).
WDS: Who is your biggest style inspiration?
BB: Lana Del Rey, definitely. I just love everything about her, her vintage vibe and how edgy she is. Her music is amazing too.
WDS: What was your main inspiration for the collection you’ll be showing tonight?
BB: My main inspiration was based around the color scheme of blush pink, black and white and lots of pearls. So it’s kind of a little bit Audrey Hepburn-esque, but a more updated Audrey with a little bit of edge.
WDS: Who do you imagine the person being who would wear this collection?
BB: I mean I love Rihanna, the Kardashians…I love all of them and their style, and I could see them wearing this collection. Everything is much more high-end couture than an everyday look. I haven’t branched into ready-to-wear yet, but I think I want to do a ready-to-wear line in the future and start selling my clothing.
WDS: What trends are you most excited about for this upcoming fall?
BB: You could say that I’m setting up my own trends! Such as, of course, the color pink…I love pink. I love pink especially mixed with edgier colors like black. I have one look showing tonight with a delicate lace pink bra, but it’s paired with black pants and a cropped black top. It has the juxtaposition of the light pink with the dark black, so I’d say it’s elegance with an edge.
WDS: Finally, which designer are you most excited to see present tonight at BFW besides yourself?
BB: I always love seeing the Rising Design Stars and their creations, because it’s amazing seeing what they come up with now when that’s something I used to do and got me where I am. It’s so great to see their new ideas that get cooler and cooler each year!
It likely comes as no surprise that Bradord and I have extremely similar taste. (I mean, an Audrey Hepburn inspired collection?! You’re speaking the words of my heart here.) Bradford has such a clear vision of what he loves, and his passion is so evident in every detail of his designs. When I could spare a moment from jumping up and down his entire show, I managed to snap a few shots of some of my favorite designs of his. Feel free to swoon below.
A special thanks to Bradford for hanging out with me for a few minutes pre-show! It is such a thrill to watch everything you have accomplished, and I am so looking forward to cheering you on through it all in the future. You’re a rockstar, Bradford.
But, one last question: How do I get to become one of Bradford’s Angels?